Workshop on the Relationship between the Atmospheric Environment, Human Health and Ecosystems

10 November 2022 – Niigata, Japan

The Network Center for the EANET organized the Workshop « Relationships between the Atmospheric Environment, Human Health, and Ecosystems » virtually, on 31 October 2022. It gathered renowned East Asian and European researchers and experts from academia (Hokkaido University, Japan, and Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, China), international organizations (CLRTAP-UNECE, WHO, IIASA), and the Network Center for the EANET, who shared scientific findings on the effects of atmospheric deposition on human health and ecosystems as well as best science-based practices for policymakers. About 50 participants joined the Workshop.


Scientific knowledge of the atmospheric environment and related effects in East Asia

Prof. Kayo Ueda, from the Graduate School of Medicine of Hokkaido University, analyzed the effects of air pollution on human health in Japan, Thailand and beyond, and showed how exposure to specific air pollutants could cause various health outcomes aside from respiratory diseases. She also explained how to estimate the mortality using epidemiological evidence and emphasized improving air quality could prevent millions of pollution-related deaths per year.

Prof. Zhaozhong Feng, from the Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, explained the results of his research on the effects of ozone on crop production in Asia. After presenting the trends of surface ozone concentrations at the global scale, he highlighted the impacts of ozone on crops and yield loss in China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. Results from his work demonstrated that China showed the highest relative yield loss compared to Japan and the Republic of Korea. It also estimated the total ozone-induced annual loss of crop production at US$63 billion, revealing the need to take necessary mitigation actions for ozone emission control and adaptive agronomic measures against the rising surface ozone levels across East Asia.

Dr. Hiroyuki Sase is the Head of the Ecological Impact Research Department of the Asia Center for Air Pollution Research (ACAP), Network Center (NC) for the EANET. His presentation focused on the effects of atmospheric deposition on forest ecosystems. Dr. Sase presented the changes in atmospheric deposition in the EANET joint research sites including Thailand, Japan, and Russia, and explained the different responses of forest ecosystems in various climatic zones. Key findings from the EANET sites showed that although atmospheric deposition had decreased, recovery from acidification and/or from nitrate saturation had not been necessarily observed in forest ecosystems.


Science-based policy experiences from Europe and beyond

Ms. Anna Kaplina, Secretariat, Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), presented the history and successes of the UNECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution over the last 40 years. Among these achievements, she highlighted the decrease in emissions from 40% to 80% since 1990 in the UNECE region, resulting from the expertise, policy guidance, and capacity building among the 51 Parties.

Dr. Dorota Jarosinska, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe, European Centre for Environment and Health, presented the Work of the Task Force on Health under the CLRTAP and the relevant work of WHO beyond this cooperation. She highlighted, among other points, the key role of the WHO Global Air Quality Guidelines, which form robust public health recommendations, support informed decision-making worldwide, and include a comprehensive assessment of the evidence on air pollution.

Dr. Zbigniew Klimont, a scientist from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), shared his presentation on the Integrated assessment modeling contribution to Air Convention protocols by taking the example of the Gothenburg Protocol (1999), introducing also scientific tools such as the Greenhouse gas Air pollution Interactions and Synergies (GAINS) model aiming at seeking win-win solutions in policy-oriented cooperation.

Find out more about this Workshop in the Useful Resources section.


Useful Resources


Photo credits: featured photo of Schronisko PTTK Hala Kondratowa, Zakopane, Poland (2018) by Marcin Szmigiel on Unsplash.